A woman has revealed how she converted a 15th century water mill into a 16-person-detached holiday home for £100,000.
Sandy Potter, 53, transformed The Water Mill in Derbyshire – which is a Grade II listed property. The mill features in the Domesday Book and was used to mill corn and wheat until about 1960.
Sandy and her second husband David Potter, 47, have restored its 300 year old water wheel, and the seven bedroom holiday home retains its ancient stonework and oak beams.
They hired a specialist water mill engineer to fix and maintain the previously ‘rotting’ 14ft wood and iron water wheel – which can now be seen as you enter the property behind a glass casing.
They bought the property for £650,000 in February – with the renovations taking two months. They added modern touches which include a luxurious Champagne bar and a hot tub.
The ground floor, where the flour would have been historically sacked up and weighed, has been turned into the Champagne bar. The wheel of the mill has been preserved and can be seen through the glass in the champagne bar
The modern kitchen has wooden features including an island with high chairs and a table which seats 16 people. Original features including wooden beams can be seen throughout the house, including on the ceiling in the kitchen
Sandy Potter, 53, has transformed The Water Mill in Derbyshire into a 16-person-detached holiday home nestled in the heart of the Peak District countryside. Pictured: With the original water mill feature outside
It was a shrewd investment as the holiday home has since been valued at £750,000, and is rented out to big groups.
Sandy was a single mother who had just gone through a divorce when she set up her first bed and breakfast 20 years ago to secure her children’s future. At the time, her children were young – Sophie was seven and Maria just four years old.
The mother-of two has since renovated a string of properties into successful holiday lets in the county, with this one her most ambitious project yet.
She currently owns and manages three holiday lets in Derbyshire with her now husband David.
The living room has been modernised with a corner sofa and furniture, but parts of the mill have been kept intact and are kept as a feature
Part of the 200 old water mill wheel has been kept in tact in one of the bedrooms in the cottage, as well as wooden beams, which compliment the modern features in the bedroom
She said: ‘After my divorce, suddenly I had no pension fund or future security, in fact, I had no means whatsoever.
‘Pensions and support with care costs were issues constantly on my mind.
‘My primary reason for setting up a holiday let was to not only provide an income for the short term but to future-proof my pension and care costs so that my daughters didn’t have to worry about this either.
‘Holiday-lets were the best solution for me and eventually it became clear that they would provide more income than from a buy-to-let.
Sandy has renovated a string of properties into successful holiday lets in the county, with this one her most ambitious project yet. Pictured: a Children’s bedroom with bunk beds, but keeping original woodwork in the bedroom
The Potters hired a specialist water mill engineer to fix and maintain the previously ‘rotting’ 14ft wood and iron water wheel
‘Having this ‘nest egg’ that would ‘keep on giving’ alleviate my concerns about the future for my family.
‘When I’m ready to retire, my children will be hands-on and run the properties and take over the business, so there is a job for them, and an income for me too.’
Original hoppers and grindstones used to grind corn can be found in the lounge, while the hoist room showcases the inner mechanisms of the mill and is now one of the luxury bedroom suites.
Original hoppers and grindstones used to grind corn can be found in the lounge – while there are also modern amenities such as two corner sofas
The Grade II listed property features in the Domesday Records and was used to mill corn and wheat until about 1960. Pictured: Sandy poses outside of the watermill which is located in Derbyshire
The kitchen is big enough for its 16 guests and is one of the most modern looking rooms in the cottage, with drop don lights cream walls and a modern kitchen
Sandy admits that they’ve tried to make the property a mixture of the new and old, adding contemporary furniture to go with the traditional features
Sandy (right) was a single mother who had just gone through a divorce when she set up her first bed and breakfast 20 years ago to secure her children’s future. At the time, Sophie (left) was seven and Maria just four years old
Sandy paints one of the bedrooms during the renovation – which took two months to complete. Sandy admits that she bought the now cottage when the water wheel was rotting away
The ground floor, where the flour would have been historically sacked up and weighed, has been turned into the Champagne bar.
Sandy said: ‘We feel so lucky to custodians of such a special house with amazing history.
‘When we bought it the water wheel was rotting away, and trying to find an engineer to fix it was quite a challenge.
Sarah and her husband david potter relax in the outside are of the cottage which they both renovated – which includes a sofa and a hot tub
The reception area showcases the inner workings of the old mill, with the staircase leading to the upstairs area and the stone floors and wooden beams giving it an authentic feeling
The hoist room showcases the inner mechanisms of the mill and is now one of the luxury bedroom suites. They have added modern touches such as light brown carpets, stylish curtains and a pretty dressing table
‘All the bits had to be hand made so it was a costly process but it is now once again the biggest working wheel in the Peak District.
‘We’ve tried to make the property a mixture of the new and old, adding the Champagne bar and contemporary furniture to go with the traditional features. We’re very proud of it.’
Sarah Derbyshire, business development manager at Cottages.com, said: ‘Not only has Sandy transformed this historic property into an inspiring retreat but it’s clear her attention to detail is paying dividends in her overall success.
‘The passion and dedication from Sandy and her family make it a truly beautiful place to stay and I have no doubt she will continue to thrive.’
The Water Mill is available as a holiday-let on Cottages.com from £1,586 for a four night break.